Movie buffs may love a good horror film as much as the next guy, but they can mostly all agree the characters featured in these blockbusters don’t always make the smartest decisions. Thankfully, these unfortunate fictional characters can teach us how to be safe in our own lives and know what to do if we are invited to stay at a shut-down ski lodge for the winter (hint: the answer is always “no”).
So, the next time you are watching one of your favorite horror movies and find yourself wanting to scream, “Don’t open that door!” or “Look behind you!”, take a moment to thank the inevitable victim for teaching you a valuable lesson on how to escape danger.
Lesson 1: Use the Buddy System
This really is Survival 101. It never fails that the first person to get the ax in most horror films is the one who decided to check out that weird noise by themselves. So, if there’s one thing these countless, lost fictional characters have taught us, it’s that you always take a buddy if you don’t want to be the first one to get picked off.
This is true for real-life situations, too. Whether walking to your car after work, trekking on a backwoods hike or leaving a bar late at night, the chances of ending up in a dangerous situation are much higher if you’re alone. Always take a friend, or if no one is around, use an app that let’s you alert friends and family of your location if you feel unsafe.
Lesson 2: Lock Your Doors and Windows
Even when a psycho killer is on the loose, someone always seems to think it’s a good idea to leave their bedroom window open at night or the backdoor unlocked, because their boyfriend is on the way over. Look, it’s OK to make him knock.
Doors and windows should always be locked at night, especially when you are away from your home. The harder you make it to break in, the less likely you’ll experience a burglary or home intrusion. You should also turn on porch lights around your property and keep shrubs and trees trimmed so there are fewer places to hide.
Lesson 3: Keep an Eye Out
We’ve seen it a million times. The security guard dozes off just as the killer appears on the security camera screen or someone who was supposed to be standing watch gets distracted by a flirty cheerleader and doesn’t see the zombie creep past the door. Indeed, so many of these horror flicks would be over sooner if the characters just paid better attention.
Likewise, monitoring your home and paying attention to your surroundings will keep you safe if anything is off or suspicious. These days, there are tons of mobile phone apps that allow you to monitor your home’s security system from your smartphone. Many home security systems will even send you motion-activated push notifications or e-mail alerts so you are never caught by surprise.
Lesson 4: Trust the Kid
Why is it in almost every scary movie no one believes the kid who says he sees dead people or doesn’t trust your new drifter friend with the mysterious backstory? Again, a lot of these films would be resolved faster if the grownups just listened to the kid. Children may not sense the same types of danger you can, but they have instincts, too.
If you teach your children to be aware of unsafe situations (read: stranger danger), you know when to listen and heed their worried cries when they tell you something’s wrong or feel uneasy.